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We've improved Slashdot's video section; now you can view our video interviews, product close-ups and site visits with all the usual Slashdot options to comment, share, etc. No more walled garden! It's a work in progress -- we hope you'll check it out (Learn more about the recent updates).


Comment: Longevity of Dioxin in Agent Orange. (Score 5, Informative) 166

by WebSorcerer (#46323773) Attached to: Study Shows Agent Orange Still Taints Aging C-123s
I am an analytical chemist, and analyzed Agent Orange while employed by the Dow Chemical Company (one of the manufacturers of Agent Orange). The spraying apparatus in the planes in the C-123 sprayed out a side door, and Agent Orange filled the air inside the plane drenching the men who operated the sprayers, and coated everything in the interior. Agent Orange is not volatile, and evaporates extremely slowly. This combination of circumstances IMHO would cause a residue of Agent Orange inside the planes which could reasonably last for decades.

Comment: Le Voyage Dans La Lune (Score 1) 131

by WebSorcerer (#42557031) Attached to: The Science Behind Building a Space Gun

Le Voyage Dans La Lune is a movie made in 1902.

From Wikipedia:

"At a meeting of astronomers, their president proposes a trip to the Moon. After addressing some dissent, six brave astronomers agree to the plan. They build a space capsule in the shape of a bullet, and a huge cannon to shoot it into space."


Comment: I Don't Buy Apple Products (Score 1) 427

In ~1988 I purchased my first Desktop PC, an Apple. I really liked it. In 1991, when the Power PC came out, I purchased one. NONE of the peripherals for my previous computer (except the keyboard IIRC) were compatible because the connectors were changed.

I vowed, then and there, that I would never buy an Apple product again. I have never regretted it.

Comment: "Fracking" in 1979 (Score 2) 267

by WebSorcerer (#39612263) Attached to: My gut feeling about fracking:

In 1979, during the energy crisis, I was involved in a project to retrieve natural gas from shale oil using dynamite to separate the shale layers between two holes which were drilled about a mile apart. (No water was involved.) A fire was started in the shale oil in one of the holes, and air pumped in to keep it burning. The natural gas produced by the heat was driven towards the other hole where it was pumped to the surface. The natural gas was about 2% in the air pumped up. This was a closed system in that the holes were lined with pipe which was capped, and had access ports to perform the detonation and admit the air at one end, and the recovery of the gas-containing air at the other.

I was involved in developing a method to analyze the air to determine the yield, using mass spectrometry, and then measuring it. The project was abandoned when the energy crisis ended.

As to whether this was safer than the current method, it may be because it is a more closed/confined system. That said, the possible problems caused by the heat and/or the explosion have not been studied.

Comment: Nokia C5-03 (Score 1) 294

by WebSorcerer (#39141901) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Best Mobile Phone Solution With No Data Plan?

I just purchased one of these as my first smart phone. It cost ~$150 from Newegg. I have a basic AT&T phone plan with no extras. The phone comes with several apps and GPS.

I slipped in the SIM card, and it worked right off the bat. It connected to my home network (encrypted with hidden name) easily, and connected to the Internet without problems.

I had an older Nokia phone, and the Nokia OVI Suite software (free) connected to it, and I synced my contacts with my computer. Then I connected the new one, and uploaded the contacts.

My AT&T plan does not include connection to the Internet, so I will need a Hot Spot for access when away from home.

Overall, for the price, it is a bargain.

Comment: Re:Fresh water? (Score 3, Interesting) 292

by WebSorcerer (#38842417) Attached to: Graphene Membranes Superpermeable to Water

I'm a Ph.D. Chemist who has done some water purification studies. One difficulty is the build-up of particulate matter on/in the filter which slows down (eventually stops) flow through the filter.

This problem can be addressed with the use of two filters in parallel, one of which is being back-flushed while the other operates. With the current types of filters, the system eventually plugs due to micro particulates. Perhaps this Graphine filter is immune to plugging, and merely flushing the surface will clean it.

As you may have surmised from previous posts, it holds out the possibility of a limitless supply of potable water. What a boon to mankind!!

Comment: A Career in Science is Infinitely Rewarding (Score 1) 694

by WebSorcerer (#35932434) Attached to: Why Science Is a Lousy Career Choice

I earned a Ph.D in Chemistry in 1966. My thesis involved a new (at that time) scientific instrument, a mass spectrometer. After I graduated, I got a job with the Dow Chemical Company in the Chemical Physics Research Lab running their new high resolution mass spectrometer. I had never seen one before. It was the start of a magical career for me.

I am a living pioneer (almost 73 years old). I have done things no-one had done before. I have received the recognition of my peers in the form of publications, invitations to speak at scientific meetings in the US and Europe, and served on a committee for the Government of Canada (invited by the Minister of the Environment and the Minister of Health and Welfare) to assess the impact of dioxins in that country. I was the only US citizen on the committee.

All this was in the area of the detection and quantification of Dioxins in the environment, animals (including humans), and in chemical processes. I have developed methods (with others) to measure organic compounds at levels never before achieved at the time (water: 1-5 parts per quadrillion; human and bovine milk: 10 parts per billion; human fat: 20 parts per billion;...).

The intangible rewards have been infinitely gratifying and satisfying. The monetary compensation was enough to live comfortably (but not extravagantly). My pension and Social Security benefits allow me to enjoy my 'golden years' and still leave a legacy to my children.

Porsche: there simply is no substitute. -- Risky Business